Rio Rancho, Bike Culture, and Bicycling Economy

It was one of those mornings that opened into a long ride.  The air is so clear the day after the storm.  I ended up exploring Rio Rancho some.  On their Convention and Visitor’s Bureau page, they advertise “high-altitude training and racing on miles of paved roads and mountain terrain.”  It’s true.  Set up in rolling grasslands Rio has spectacular vistas of the mountains all around.

Sandia glory

to the mountains off 550

distant mountains

Bicycling is wonderful way to build a sense of place.  I passed the Green Jeans Farmery on the way through Albuquerque.  It is made from shipping containers, and is right on a spur off the North Diversion Channel Trail.  Having a destination like this drives bike culture.  It’s happening.

Santa Fe Brewing complex on Diversion Trail spur

Green Jeans

A little further down on the Paseo Del Norte Trail I passed the Rail Runner while it was picking up.  There were two city buses as well.  Multimodal connections.  A group was taking a photograph together prior to boarding the train.  Then they were whisked off in a flash.

ABQ Paseo and Rail Runner Station

ABQ multimodal connections

ABQ multimodal

In case anyone is wondering, that is green tea (with honey and sea salt) in my second water bottle.  Yummy, antioxidant goodness.  Through Corrales I saw a horseperson riding.  And I found a beautiful bike trail on the West Side along an arroyo.  And up by Unser, there is an intersection with three bicycle trails stacked on top of each other.  I always take the wrong one when trying to navigate on the trail to Boca Negra that goes underneath Unser.

Corrales

West side trail

three trails

Amazing all the sights I saw today.  More amazing that I came away with these photos on my silly cell phone.  But was it easy?  Well, the exercise part is not necessarily easy, but I thoroughly enjoy the workout.  The navigation part can be made easier, and should be.  Although there are excellent segments of infrastructure, the transportation system for bicycling is a fragmented and disjointed.  Try for instance riding Unser across Rio Rancho and the West Side.  It is a mixed bag. The most intelligent comment I’ve ever heard is one from a planner in Albuquerque.  She said we should plan for bicycles like we do for cars.  That is pretty much it.  Where ever there is car traffic, there is demand for bicycles.  If we center the lay of our communities around walking, biking, transit, and yes cars too (I love driving, what luxury), I think we’ll be better positioned to take off economically, and certainly we’ll all get on the right track integrating healthy activity into our daily routines.  What a world class place for bicycling.  Love it here.

Unser north

Unser south

I rode some six foot bike lanes in the Mariposa development off Unser Northwest.  Want to encourage more bicycling?  Build six foot bike lanes!  That is a good design width for two riders together, which is preferable, with two pairs of eyes on the road, greater visibility, positioned for clear communication, and socially conscious.  For one rider six feet of bike lane feels comfortable.  Yes.  Through all the road and lane configurations I rode today, drivers were graceful and patient.  That is the most important thing.  We are growing into bicycling.

Mariposa six foot bike lanes

Southwest grasslands roll

NW landscape

 

 

 

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